How good it is, Sunday after Sunday, to hear these Gospels from St Matthew! How good, amid the fears and obsessions wracking the kingdoms of the world, to hear Christ’s strong, calm voice telling us the secrets of the Kingdom of God. Sunday after Sunday, we’re given this opportunity to put on the mind of Christ.
Today, the Collect, the 1st reading, the Psalm and above all the Gospel bring “forgiveness” before us. St Matthew hands us the parable of the unforgiving servant and with it ends ch. 18 of his Gospel.
In case you have not seen it, the summer issue of the Light of the North remains available online at https://bit.ly/-LOTN-Summer2020-Issue44
Calling all Men!!!
Don’t forget that on Saturday 19th September, The Highland Gathering men’s conference will be released on youtube. All the talks are pre-recorded and free to watch with unlimited access.
In St Matthew’s Gospel, our Lord both teaches and does. He is the Master of thought and life. The Gospel alternates from one to the other, in a structured way. So, we find in Matthew’s Gospel five extended building-blocks of teaching, five major discourses – most famously, the Sermon on the Mount, chs 5 to 7. Today we are catapulted into the middle of the 4th, ch. 18. The focus of this discourse is how Christians should relate to each other. It is about life together in the Church. It looks beyond Jesus’ resurrection to the social presence of Christians in history – until the Lord comes. In fact, in today’s Gospel, lost in translation, the word “church” comes twice – here rendered “community”. And the Gospel is showing us how to get our Christian relationships right.
Today’s Gospel is a hard one. It must have been very hard for Peter to hear the words: “Get behind me, Satan.” It’s hard for us to hear the words about renouncing ourselves, taking up the Cross and being ready to lose our lives. This is not an attractive prospect. Where’s the Good News in this? And yet, and yet, I have the sense that this hardshell hides something nourishing and sweet. Beauty and the beast. I’m not sure I can get to it, but let’s try.
Aberdeen is a rather sombre place at present: still in lockdown, football-less, and most of all mourning the sad event on the train line north of Stonehaven, and the loss of three lives.
So it’s good to have this feast to keep. It lifts the heart. It is the main Marian feast of the year. It is the patronal feast of this Cathedral and of the diocese, and the principal patronal feast of Pluscarden Abbey too.
Bishop Hugh Gilbert, OSB, catechesis on the Assumption:
My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the terrible train incident that took place outside Stonehaven yesterday. In times such as these, our hearts go out to those directly and indirectly affected by such a tragedy.